Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony is 50 minutes of tragedy, despair, terror, and violence and three minutes of triumph. Premiered in 1953, the best performance is still that conducted by Mravinsky. Yevgeny Mravinsky's June 3, 1955, performance with the Leningrad Philharmonic of Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 is just as great. Mravinsky was the best Soviet conductor and his passionate precision and intense interpretations were as valid for Beethoven as they were for Shostakovich. His interpretations can be hard-driven and sharp-edged, but no one could object to the lucid strength and linear lyricism he brings to the work.
Emerging from a dark depression, Beethoven chose art rather than death, thus embracing a notion of destiny and heroism which links him to heroes of the past - and of his present.The Eroica Symphony, dedicated initially to Napoleon, and ultimately 'to the memory of a great man', was to prompt contemporary commentators to seek out interpretations in the Iliad.
In presenting a new recording of one of the world's most popular symphonies, the Fifth Symphony of Beethoven, it is fitting that it should be conducted by a musician internationally acclaimed as one of the foremost Beethoven interpreters of our day, Josef Krips. All the dynamism of the music and its performance has been faithfully preserved through the magic of Everest sound.
…Another justification, of course, is the obvious enthusiasm of the young players as they make their way through a curtain-raising Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, with its collection of diverse but harmonious instrumental elements, and through Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, with its durable resonances of hope amid warfare. This concert was recorded live in Ramallah in August 2005, under heavy guard. The logistical preparations of the concert, Barenboim says, could fill a book. But maybe that's a book that should be written, for the bottom line is that the concert took place and ended with an explosion of applause…
Only a favored number of very old conductors manage the secret of getting more fascinating as the years progress. Like Pablo Casals, Stokowski belonged to that tiny elite. for that reason I've collected all the BBC Legends issues devoted to him, which date from his frequent sojourns to England in his eighties and nineties. Britten's Young Person's Guide from a Proms concert in royal Albert Hall in 1963 with the BBC Sym. features more vivid, up-close sound. This reading has been reissued quite a lot and is marked by Stokowski's rather grave, measured interpretation. He takes this work more seriously than anyone else I've heard; the results are impressive, and more than once you think you're hearing him revisit one of his famous grandiose Bach transcriptions. As an earlier reviewer notes, each variation is turned into a set piece.